Once the great Glacier enclosed the Raumsdalian Empire. Now it’s broken open, and Count Hamnet Thyssen faces a new world. With the wisecracking Ulric Skakki, the neighboring clan leader Trasamund (politely addressed as Your Ferocity), and his lover, the shaman Liv, Hamnet leads an exploration of the new territory in hopes of finding the legendary Golden Shrine.
But dangers abound. A violent and implacable group known as the Rulers has already killed many, and now they attack again. Riding deer and woolly mammoths and using powerful magic, the Rulers triumph and force the Raumsdalians to flee.
In the spring another battle ends even more badly for Hamnet’s side, but the Glacier is also retreating, so they are able to escape. Meeting a tribe whose desperate living conditions have led them to overcome the Raumsdalian taboo against eating fallen foes, they find unexpected allies. Now, returning to the capital city and its intrigues, Hamnet prepares to lead an army against the merciless Rulers. The world, once so bounded and comprehensible, will never be the same…
When Odin breathed life into the mortal realms, he also created the Cardinal Wizards: the Northern Wizard as the representative of Good, the Southern as master of Evil, and the Western and Eastern as the keepers of the balance between Good and Evil, each neutral, both sharing the burden of holding their fellow magic wielders in check.
But now the days decreed in ancient prophecy have come upon the mortal realms. The Great War has been fought and a Renshai has proven its Champion.
Yet even as the war’s heroes struggle to place the rightful king of Bearn upon his throne, and the also true Renshai seeks to train a new generation of his warrior race, the word is carried forth on falcon’s wings that the Western Wizard is no more.
And unless Shadimar, the Wizard of the East, can find the one mortal with any hope of surviving the challenge of the Seven Tasks of Wizardry, the worlds of gods and mortals alike will fall….
“I’ll need your help. Come night and the Oracle again, I’m going to try the final couplet.”
“Jinian,” Murzy breathed while Dodie looked white-eyed at me. “Dangerous.”
“And fatal not to,” I said, still smiling at them all…
I wove by forest and meadow, branch and leaf. I wove by stream and pool, by river and fall. I wove by cloud and air, by thunder and sunset glow. I wove by depths of the earth, rock and gem, glittering ores and crystals blooming in the dark, old bone and new. Beside me the others wove as well…
“And all within sound of my voice or reach of the wind,” I cried, thrusting my voice like a Sending, like a magic spear, driving it upward. “And all within sound of my voice or lick of the wave, or all within sound of my voice or stretch of the soil, or all within sound of my voice where green grows and leaf springs up. Named or unnamed, silent or speaking. Let this message be brought,
By the Eye of the Star,
Where Old Gods Are!”
Count Hamnet Thyssen is a minor noble of the drowsy old Raumsdalian Empire. Its capital city, Nidaros, began as a mammoth hunters’ camp at the edge of the great Glacier. But that was centuries ago, and as everyone knows, it’s the nature of the great Glacier to withdraw a few feet every year. Today Nidaros is an old and many-spired city; and though they still feel the breath of the great Glacier in every winter’s winds, the ice cap itself has retreated beyond the horizon.
Trasamund, a clan chief of the mammoth-herding Bizogots, the next tribe north, has come to town with strange news. A narrow gap has opened in what they’d always thought was an endless and impregnable wall of ice. The great Glacier does not go on forever – and on its other side are new lands, new animals, and possibly new people.
Ancient legend says that on the other side is the Golden Shrine, put there by the gods to guard the people of their world. Now, perhaps, the road to the legendary Golden Shrine is open. Who could resist the urge to go see? Not Hamnet Thyssen or Trasamund. Not Ulric Skakki, Hamnet’s old comrade in arms: a good man to have at your side, although perhaps not at your back. And not, damnably, Eyvind Torfinn – a scholar, a very knowledgeable man but, alas, the husband of Hamnet’s former wife, Gudrid: a troublemaker if there ever was one. She’s decided to come along, too.
For every one of them, the Glacier has always been the boundary of the world. Now they’ll be traveling beyond it into a world that’s bigger than anyone knew. Adventures will surely be had…